Interoperable communications projects drive $1.2 billion in 2008 public safety contracts
Ten opportunities examined in the report represent nearly $1.2 billion in total spending, an amount buoyed by significant federal grant money made available to state and local law-enforcement agencies.
The Los Angeles County Regional Interoperable Communications System (RICS) program represents half the total. Four of the top-ten opportunities are related to countywide or statewide interoperable communications. Rounding out the list of homeland security-related opportunities is the Virginia State Police’s Virginia Intelligence Management System (VIMS).
“Interoperability is one of the rare national initiatives where the federal government is backing up its directives to the states and localities with real money,” says Jeff Webster, analyst, justice/public safety and homeland security at INPUT. “It’s no surprise that a recent report by the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council found that developing interoperable communications is the top homeland security priority in the states.”
Webster says that major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles are the best places for vendors to prove they can deliver interjurisdictional voice and data interoperability among all types of first responders. INPUT expects to see a steady stream of these opportunities over the next three to five years.
Major intelligence fusion IT implementations also have been under way in Illinois and Massachusetts. With Congressional interest in state and local fusion centers, INPUT sees a rising trend in intelligence-related opportunities.
Webster cautions that vendors should not chase homeland security opportunities to the exclusion of critical day-to-day business needs.
“Five of the top-ten opportunities address long-standing, bread-and-butter concerns such as records management, sex-offender tracking, offender case management, a centralized repository and automated fingerprinting,” he says, and suggests that vendors would be smart to think about how these systems might be leveraged for homeland security purposes, with interoperability and fusion aspects as strong selling points.